In a victory for Big Foam, a lawsuit against Starbucks is thrown out

Line ’em up.
Line ’em up.
Image: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
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A US federal court has thrown out a class action lawsuit against Starbucks that alleged that the beverage chain was cheating customers by under-filling drinks and overdoing it with the foam.

Siera Strumlauf and Benjamin Robles of California filed a class action suit against the chain in 2016 “on behalf of purchasers of Starbucks Caffè Lattes, Flavored Lattes, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Egg Nog Lattes, Skinny Lattes, Skinny Flavored Lattes, Vanilla Lattes, and Skinny Vanilla Lattes (collectively, ‘Lattes’),” according to the legal filing.

The plaintiffs charged that Starbucks systematically cheated this collective of latte purchasers over the years, with drinks missing as much as 25% of their advertised volume. It was, the plaintiffs alleged, part of a scheme to save money on milk, one of the chain’s most expensive ingredients.

The plaintiffs “would not have purchased Starbucks Lattes on the same terms if the true facts were known concerning the Lattes’ quantity,” the complaint stated. “At an absolute minimum, Defendant negligently misrepresented and/or negligently omitted material facts about Starbucks Lattes.”

Starbucks countered that milk expands when it steams, and that their drink volumes meet advertised sizes. The judge agreed.

This is not the first court to strike down a motion against Starbucks sizing. In 2016, a California court dismissed a lawsuit charging Starbucks with fraud and false advertising over the actual sizes of its iced beverages, a claim that addressed both the physics of freezing water and the ice-to-liquid ratio in a Grande Shaken Iced Peach Green Tea Lemonade.